Gold Star Grants Awarded – $34,156 for 20 projects that will improve reading skills, promote social and emotional learning, and more.

LA CROSSE, WI, April 12, 2022 – Made possible through generous community support, La Crosse Public Education Foundation is proud to support students and teachers at every grade level in the La Crosse schools with Gold Star Grants this spring. Funded projects provide students a chance to learn new skills, have new experiences, and to be exposed to new ideas — everything from a Northside community concert, books to increase reading level or read in Braille, to learning to fly fish or build robots.

Funding for these projects and more are among 20 grants totaling $34,156 announced today by the La Crosse Public Education Foundation.

“The grants awarded today are evidence of the creativity and commitment from teachers and staff in the School District of La Crosse. They will give students at every grade level in the district access to exciting, engaging education experiences,” said President of the La Crosse Public Education Foundation Board of Directors, Dr. Tom Thompson.  “We are grateful for the community generosity that makes these projects possible.”

Gold star Grants are selected for funding based on creativity, ability to engage students, and the total impact or reach of the project throughout the district. Here is a brief summary of the 20 grants.

  • $5,000 to purchase differentiated, high interest, and culturally appropriate materials which align with grade level curriculum to provide supports for Northside Elementary students to reach grade level. Recipients: Sarah Bradle, Shelly Long, Kadie Koepke, Courtney Kirchner.
  • $4,000 to purchase social emotional materials for all 4K students to develop essential coping skills in a developmentally appropriate way, through play. Recipients: Michelle L. Powell. Made possible in part by the Duane and Carol Taebel Fund of the La Crosse Community Foundation.
  • $3,500 to provide a community concert and dance at Northside Elementary/Coulee Montessori School featuring popular entertainer Koo Koo Kangaroo. The event will support community building and music/dance appreciation. Recipients: Amoreena Rathke, Nicki Pope, Julie Nelson.
  • $3,000 to train Middle School Literacy Specialists on use of and purchase digital classroom library inventory and assessment system. Recipients: Jill Emerich, Kristy Holinka, and Ruth Baardseth. Made possible in part by the Richard Swantz Fund.
  • $2,500 Brauer IB Adventure Grant to send two teachers to an International Baccalaureate conference for training on leading the Northwoods community through the next step of IB self-study and program re-evaluation. Recipients: Sara DePaolo, Rebecca Misch.
  • $2,388 to provide Central High School students with a fly fishing and fish habitat learning experience. Students will learn about fly casting, fly tying, and how to catch fish. Recipients: Brad Bryan, Scott Linssen. Made possible in part by the Tyser Power of Nature Fund.
  • $2,000 to purchase materials for STEAM lab at Northside Elementary accessible to all classes. Recipients: Deb Sullivan.
  • $1,867 to purchase robotics equipment for Logan High School and La Crosse Roads science students to enhance learning about electricity and basic circuits. Recipients: Scott Gruen, Eric Cummings, Mark Ziegler. Made possible in part by the Dr. Gunnar and Mary Baldwin Gundersen Memorial Fund of La Crosse Community Foundation.
  • $1,614 for Central and Logan High Schools’ reading classes and Black Student Union students to visit America’s Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee. The museum honors La Crosse native Dr. James Cameron. Recipients: Katie Green, Kalista Richarson, Quartell Roberson.
  • $1,100 to purchase Spanish readers to encourage language acquisition for Lincoln and Longfellow Middle School students. Recipients: Jennifer Ciokiewicz, Ruth Bent.
  • $1,100 for dancer Michael James to speak with Lincoln Middle students about dance, racism, and stereotypes and achieving one’s personal goals. Recipients: Jason Harden. Made possible in part by the Rachel Gundersen Endowment for the Arts & Humanities.
  • $1,025 to purchase hands-on learning tools for use in the Southern Bluffs Elementary Prairie outdoor learning classroom. Recipients: Stacy Raatz.
  • $1,000 to allow all elementary music teachers to learn from elementary music instructional coach Franklin Willis on how to incorporate authentic, culturally relevant music repertoire for culturally relevant teaching. Recipients: Amanda Wolfgram. the McGavock Family Endowment for Music Education.
  • $824 to purchase etched phonics pebbles and word building alphabet stones to develop word building skills using sustainable natural materials at Northside Elementary. Recipients: Lisa Hilker. Made possible in part by the Judy and Randy Eddy Sr. Fund.
  • $788 to purchase Braille books for visually impaired elementary students throughout the District, providing options in addition to audiobooks and “read to me” books. Recipients: Tina Welke. Made possible in part by the Judy and Dave Bouffleur Fund of La Crosse Community Foundation.
  • $555 to purchase sewing equipment and materials for students La Crosse Polytechnic to create a fashion piece that symbolizes identity and power that will be shown in an art gallery or at the Pride Center. Recipients: Bri Larcom.
  • $550 to purchase swim equipment for the Adapted Physical Education classes at Central and Logan high Schools. Equipment will help students with therapy exercises, swim skills, safety, and overall interactive play. Recipients: Jessa Ellenbecker, Katie Bakke, Lindsay Shay. Made possible in part by the Randy and Lynn Nelson Fund.
  • $500 to purchase science-themed curriculum related board games for Logan High School Biology students. Students will then design, produce and play their own strategy-based game. Recipient: Jill Abing.
  • $480 to purchase an anthology of diverse short stories, The Hero Next Door, for Longfellow Middle staff and students to learn about what is happening in the world. Recipients: Lila Planavsky, Stephanie Greenwold.

$365 to purchase blank hardcover books to be filled with a children’s story written in Spanish by Logan High School students, and then sent to underdeveloped areas in Latin America to promote literacy. Recipients: Katie Beyer. Supported in part by the Tom and Judy Sleik Family Fund of La Crosse Community Foundation.